Anger has erupted over plans to increase the cost of parking permits by 500 per cent.
Opposition councillors and residents have hit out at North Tyneside Council’s decision to increase the cost of foreshaw parking permits from £50 a year to £250.
They say the decision is an attack on the coast, where the car parks are, and have questioned the timing of the decision as people celebrate and pay for Christmas.
Conservative group leader Coun Judith Wallace said: “This is a staggering increase, which must put North Tyneside in the record books for all the wrong reasons.
“It is yet another attack on the coast, where parking charges have already soared this year.
“I fear it will deter many regular visitors, who come for clubs and to support our businesses.”
Coun Alison Austin, representing Monkseaton North ward, added: “Many residents have complained about the short period of consultation for these permits.
“This cost will make it harder for people to visit the coast regularly, and it will make more drivers park in the side streets instead of using the public car parks.”
The new permits, which are due to come into force on January 18, will allow holders to park in charged parking areas along the seafront – except on Tynemouth Front Street.
The council say the permits – available for either six or 12 months – will no longer be assigned to a single vehicle so families, clubs and groups visiting the coast regularly can share a permit rather than buying one per vehicle.
And officials say the rise, which could help people save £370 if they park for more than ten hours a week at the coast, brings the permit into line with other permits in North Tyneside.
Coun John Harrison, cabinet member responsible for transport, said: “This permit still offers excellent value for money, with frequent visitors paying less than £5 per week for unlimited parking at our award-winning coastline.
“Although the charge is increasing, the old charge was disproportionately low compared to other parking permits in North Tyneside. This increase ensures permits are priced consistently across the borough, and helps towards the financial challenges faced by the council.
“The new features of the foreshore permit provide much greater flexibility to permit holders, especially the swimmers, dog walkers, clubs and groups that regularly visit our coast.”
Changes to the existing foreshore permit scheme were originally proposed as part of North Tyneside Council’s 2015/16 budget efficiency plans, through which the authority is required to achieve around £14m of savings.
In support of this, Full Council set a target of a £230,000 increase in revenue for the parking budget, to be raised from increased charges and continued enforcement activity for those who chose contravene parking and bus lane rules.